"Clearly", says Dr Sohail Jehangir Malik, a noted economist and chairman of Innovative Development Strategies, in his latest report, "the benefits of this agricultural growth did not translate into improved welfare for the least well-off segments of rural society".
This is easily explained because 60 per cent of farming households own no land or own less than one acre, as Mr Malik
found from his
study of the reports of Agricultural Census Commission
In fact, the incentives such as minimum support price of wheat redounds only to the enrichment of the already rich farmers at the cost of these households dependent on purchase of their basic food requirements from the market.
According to recent studies conducted in the World Bank
and other institutions, cited by Mr Malik
, Sindh and Southern Punjab are the poorest regions of Pakistan.
These and other poor households, Mr Malik
observes, have lower levels of literacy, poor health status, limited access to basic services and amenities and higher levels of unemployment and underemployment.
In order to remove systemic poverty in Pakistan, he
has called for measures to help these people diversify their incomes, an end to over-dependence on cotton and of the issue of concentration of land and other assets in a few families.